COVID-19 Response Mechanism Update for Implementing Countries
17 April 2020
On 9 April the Global Fund Board approved a new response mechanism to support countries to respond to COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on programs to fight HIV, TB, malaria and systems for health. The COVID-19 Response Mechanism authorizes funding of US$500 million and comes in addition to up to US$500 million in grant flexibilities previously announced by the Global Fund. Learn more
The Global Fund sent the following update on accessing the new mechanism to Country Coordinating Mechanisms, Principal Recipients and Local Fund Agents.
Access to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 US$500 million Response Mechanism (C19RM)
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a catastrophic impact on the most vulnerable communities worldwide and threatens progress against HIV, TB and malaria. The Global Fund is providing immediate funding of US$500 million to help countries fight COVID-19, mitigate the impacts on lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programs, and prevent fragile health systems from being overwhelmed.
The purpose of this update is to enable partners to begin preparing requests in advance of receiving the guidance and application materials next week, which we will also post on the Global Fund website. We encourage partners to take an inclusive approach to developing requests, particularly regarding the inclusion of civil society, whilst recognizing the need for speed and the constraints resulting from pandemic control measures.
Building on the grant flexibilities introduced in March, the Global Fund is launching a new COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) to support countries in responding rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating its negative impact on HIV, TB, and malaria programs and on health and community systems.
Countries are expected to evaluate options within the current available grant flexibilities before submitting a request for C19RM.
- Support direct COVID-19 responses in countries, such as purchase of diagnostics and personal protective equipment (PPE), and other emergency response supplies. These must be in line with WHO COVID-19 technical guidance and national Strategic Preparedness and Response Plans for COVID-19;
- Fund risk mitigation activities related to HIV, TB, and malaria programming, such as additional support for LLIN distribution activities to protect against COVID-19 including PPE, in line with WHO technical guidance and in close collaboration with partners; and
- Address critical gaps in health and community systems, such as strengthening laboratory networks, supply chains and community engagement.
Conditions and considerations
Conditions to access C19RM include:
- All countries with active grants will be eligible for support through C19RM.
- Applications will be submitted by CCMs.
- Countries are eligible for C19RM support of up to 10% of their 2020-2022 allocation minus amounts accessed through grant flexibilities. Grant flexibilities allow countries to access 5% savings + 5% reprogramming from current grants (2017-2019 allocation).
Considerations for countries when preparing requests to access C19RM include:
- It is critical that countries submit requests to support mitigation/adaptation plans for HIV, TB and malaria programs, not just COVID-19 related needs, and that these disease –specific plans should draw on the appropriate technical guidance. The Global Fund is very concerned to have learned that some countries are postponing LLIN mass campaigns or are not dispensing critical TB and HIV commodities.
- The Global Fund expects applications to include substantial requirements for PPE for health workers, which we will be helping countries source through partners. PPE for health workers and community workers is critical for all three categories noted above.
- We are working on the basis that procurement of automated COVID-19 diagnostic tools will be done through Wambo/PPM and via the WHO-led diagnostics consortium (which operates as part of the UN Supply Chain Taskforce). The consortium is unlikely to be able to satisfy all diagnostic demand in all countries in the short term, as there is a global shortage, so allocation of scarce manufacturer capacity will be aligned with principles agreed by the consortium. Further details will be communicated soon.
- Where automated COVID-19 diagnostic tools are using existing equipment, such as GeneXpert, the Global Fund expects countries to submit plans/requests to mitigate the potential impact on TB testing and HIV viral load testing.
- We encourage requests from countries to sustain and leverage community engagement, both in adapting HIV, TB and malaria programs and in the core COVID-19 response.
Requests for funding for C19RM must be submitted by the CCM.
The Secretariat will approve requests through C19RM on a rolling basis. To ensure equity among applicants, approvals may be limited to portions (rather than the totals) of the applications. Approval for interventions within one request might also be staggered, resulting in funding being provided at different stages of the process. All decisions will be transparently reported on the Global Fund website.
Thank you for your commitment in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria and the new threat of COVID-19. The Global Fund stands ready to support you.